The Barbados Gospelfest, marking its 30th anniversary, has invited the membership of the Barbados Evangelical Alliance, Barbados Christian Council, and the World Council of Churches (WCC) Ecumenical Disability Advocates Network (EDAN) to collaborate in portions of this year’s festival.
Rev. Dr Gordon Cowans, Caribbean coordinator of WCC-EDAN, will offer a public lecture, entitled “Touching Lives of Persons with Disability: Freed to Simply Be” on 22 May at the Calvary Moravian Church in St Michael.
The Gospelfest will also include a programme called “Hymnspeak” on 23 May at St Mary’s Church in Bridgetown. Led by WCC programme executive for Spiritual Life Rev. Dr Mikie Roberts, Hymnspeak will also harvest the gifts of the Barbados Council for the Disabled. In addition, Cowans will share a testimony as part of the Hymnspeak program.
Whilst in Barbados, Roberts and Cowan will also engage with the faculty and students at Codrington College—the oldest theological college in the Western hemisphere, and the oldest tertiary institution in the region—to share with them about the ongoing WCC Pilgrimage of Justice, Reconciliation, and Unity.
“It is great to have been invited to once again lead the Hymspeak program as the Barbados Gospelfest celebrates its 30th anniversary,” said Roberts. “After years, to once again lead this event, and to do so in a different capacity, as the programme executive for Spiritual Life at the World Council of Churches, is indeed very special.”
Roberts added that Gospelfest will be a wonderful opportunity to reintroduce and highlight the witness and work of the WCC within the Barbadian ecumenical community.
“I firmly believe that through such moments of interactions and meaningful connections with our member churches and people of goodwill, we embody a theology of accompaniment in our ongoing Pilgrimage of Justice, Reconciliation, and Unity.”
Started in 1993 through the then-ministry of tourism in Barbados, the Barbados Gospelfest has evolved over the past 30 years as one of the Caribbean’s premiere gospel music festivals.
Adrian Agard, executive producer of the Barbados Gospelfest, said, at the heart of the conceptualization of Hymnspeak, was a desire to see the people of God from diverse congregations in one space worshipping God with one voice.
“Words cannot express the joy we and patrons to this event have experienced since the first staging in 2006 until now,” said Agard. “To have the involvement and support of the World Council of Churches and participation by representatives of its partner body EDAN in our 30th anniversary of Barbados Gospelfest, and in Hymnspeak 2023 is an awe-inspiring example of what God can do when we His people aspire to work together to build His kingdom. We can only say, ‘This is the Lord's doing, and it's marvelous in our eyes.’ To God be all the glory.”